Foto: Bernal Revert - European Union/European Ombudsman

Ombudswoman Lora Vidović and Deputy Ombudswoman Lidija Lukina Kezić participated at the annual European Network of Ombudsmen Conference held in Bruxelles on 19 and 20 June. The conference, organised by the European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, was dedicated to the fallout for citizen rights from Brexit and from increased ‘populism’ in Europe.

"If 2016 was a year of populism, can 2017 be a year of pushback of populism?" – asked O’Reilly in the opening speech. She emphasised transparency as crucial element in building citizens trust in institutions and their work.

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Croatia does not have a comprehensive migration and integration policy for all foreigners in the society, yet recently a possible step towards its creation was missed. Namely, only those with granted international protection were covered in the recently adopted integration measures, and there were only about 100 of them in 2016, stated the Ombudswoman Lora Vidović during the public debate on the Draft Action Plan for Integration of Persons Granted International Protection for the Period 2017 to 2019. And even though such a document is indeed welcomed since it could improve integration, it is in no way enough, said Ombudswoman Vidović.

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29 Ombuds, National Human Rights Institutions and Equality Bodies from wider Europe adopted the Zagreb Declaration on May 12 2017, at the end of the Conference on the occasion of 25 years of the Ombudsman of Croatia institution.

The event “Reclaiming Human Rights In Europe: How To Enhance The Democratic Space” was held in Zagreb on 11 and 12 May 2017, as an opportunity for a wide discussion on some of the most current topics in Europe today - counter-terrorism, freedom of speech and living together.

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The second day of the high level conference - Reclaiming Human Rights in Europe: How to Enhance Democratic Space? - marking the 25th anniversary of the Croatian ombudsman, started with the discussion on the interrelation of respect for human rights and counter terrorism measures.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, ODIHR Head of Human Rights Department Omer Fisher, Regional Human Rights and Rule of Law Advisor at UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub Isabelle Tschan, representative of the Defender of Rights from France Claudine Jacob, Senior Expert Adviser of the Croatian Council for National Security Office Sara Lustig were the panellists, as well as the Polish Ombudsman Adam Bodnar via a video message.

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